The last of today’s 2019 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot”. In 2018 this went to Milk Teeth Café & Stores and it celebrates those Coffee Spots which are firmly rooted in, and which serve, their local communities. Unsurprisingly, the shortlist contains some of my favourite Coffee Spots of the year, which are often slightly off the beaten track.
This Award has quite a wide geographical spread, with the shortlist featuring Coffee Spots from as far as Echo Park in Los Angeles to Kanazawa in Japan, as well as plenty from closer to (my) home, including Walthamstow and Streatham.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
In the market town of Oswestry, Liar Liar serves some excellent coffee and awesome food. Perhaps best of all is the neighbourhood feel, where all the customers seem to know each other and a warm welcome is assured. Liar Liar is also on three more shortlists: Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot, Best Breakfast & Most Popular Coffee Spot.
Maverick Coffee is in Scottsdale, in Arizona, part of a large, open air mall right next to my hotel. I was a near constant visit during my week there earlier this year and what impressed me was the neighbourhood feel, which I wasn’t expecting and all of which contributed to the welcoming atmosphere. Maverick Coffee is also on the shortlist for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Best Filter Coffee Awards.
The Steam Room is in a suburban area of Harborne, west of Birmingham. Serving weekly single-origins from Has Bean on espresso, batch-brew and pour-over, with the decaf being given equal billing, it’s a real gem, with an extensive brunch menu, which brings in the locals, giving it a real community feel. The Steam Room is also on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlists.
One of three Madcap locations in Grand Rapids, the coffee shop on Fulton is co-located with Madcap’s roastery. A little way out of the centre, and occupying an old garage, Madcap has a laid back, community vibe, with customers and staff on first name terms, happily chatting at the counter. The coffee is pretty awesome too, with the usual Madcap offering. Madcap has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.
Coffee@33 has long been one of Brighton’s hidden gems, going strong since 2008. I first visited in 2013, when it seemed to me that most of the customers were regulars, something which hadn’t changed when I revisited at the end of last year. Like many of the best places, Coffee@33 felt like popping round to your friend’s house for coffee! Coffee@33 has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
Located in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighbourhood, Woodcat Coffee Bar is a labour of love by owners, Janine & Saadat, who, failing to find any good coffee in Echo Park, opened their own shop in 2014. Starting on a shoestring with lots of support from the local community, Saadat built pretty much everything using reclaimed materials. Woodcat is also on the Most Passionate About Coffee shortlist.
From Echo Park in Los Angeles to Streatham in South West London, the next entry is Estate Office Coffee, is a great example of a neighbourhood coffee shop done well, Clark with the owners keeping things simple but effective. There’s the standard Allpress blend and decaf served from a concise espresso-based menu, joined by a guest roaster on batch-brew through the Moccamaster.
Staying in South West London, Big Bad Wolf is just down the road from Estate Office Coffee, and is another neighbourhood gem, led by owner/chief Barista, Andrew, who provides a warm welcome behind the counter. Just as welcoming is the coffee, from Clifton Coffee Roasters, with two options on espresso and two more on pour-over. Big Bad Wolf is also on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.
Staying in London, Wood St Coffee has been an ever-present in Walthamstow for almost as long as I’ve been doing the Coffee Spot. Now in its third incarnation at the Blackhorse Workshop, it feels like a part of the neighbourhood, offering excellent coffee (roasted in a container in the yard) and wonderful food, including a weekend brunch. Wood St Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Breakfast Awards.
Staying in Walthamstow, Froth & Rind has been around almost as long as Wood St Coffee, opening next door to Wood St’s second location on Orford Road shortly after Wood St moved to Blackhorse Workshop. An unusual place, in that it combines speciality coffee with craft beer (froth) and fine cheese (rind), Froth & Rind is another neighbourhood gem.
The third of three entries from Walthamstow, Dudley’s is a comparative newcomer, having only opened this year, ironically located on Wood Street, just down from the original home of Wood St Coffee. Despite having only been open for a few months by the time I visited, Dudley’s (named after the owner’s dog), already had a neighbourhood feel to it. Dudley’s has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
On Rue Rachel in Montréal, Café Névé was around the corner from the apartment I was staying in. I used Café Névé as my neighbourhood coffee shop, calling in almost every day for breakfast at the weekends (good enough for a place on the Best Breakfast Award shortlist) and for coffee on my way to the office during the week (which got Café Névé a place on the Best Takeaway Coffee Award shortlist).
Nestled in the quiet, residential streets of Portobello, just to the south of Dublin city centre, First Draft Coffee & Wine is very much part of the neighbour, serving coffee during the day and a wide selection of wine in the evening, all led by the infectious enthusiasm of the delightful owner, Ger. First Draft is also on the Best Flat White and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot shortlists.
Curio Espresso and Vintage Design was an unexpected find in Kanazawa, visible from the window of my hotel. Offering a slice of Seattle coffee culture on the north coast of Japan, Curio is a home-from-home for travellers as well as attracting a regular, local clientele. Curio has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
Lost Sheep Coffee, in Canterbury, may operate from a small black pod in the bus station, but it has a real neighbourhood feel to it, with most of the customers (from what I could tell) being regulars. I even caught the off-duty baristas hanging out there on a previous visit, which speaks volumes! Lost Sheep Coffee also been shortlisted for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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